Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wine and Cheese Pairing Chart

This is not, by any means, a comprehensive listing of all the wine and cheese pairings there are in the world. However, the below chart is a great starting point for wine and cheese enthusiasts. Most of the information comes from this chart on Gourmet Sleuth, in addition to the type of cheese it is (cow, goat, sheep, etc).

Why does wine and cheese taste so amazing together? It's said that the fat content of cheese is a perfect match to the acidity of wine, and smooths over any "faults" that may be in your glass of vino. I refer you to this article by LiveScience - it's a great primer on why certain foods just seem to go together.

Cheese and Charcuterie Board at Bin 228 Gastropub

The other night I had an amazing cheese and charcuterie board at Bin 228 with my boyfriend. The cheeses were: gouda and manchego, with coppa and prosciutto, cornichons and grilled bread. I paired it with a 2015 Riesling by Chateau Montelena (yes, that Chateau Montelena). It was perfection. The wine was dry, slightly acidic, but still fruity with hints of lemon. It also paired perfectly with the decadent truffled fonduta we ordered after (not pictured). Next time I'll have to try a Spanish red with the Manchego.... you know what they say, "What grows together, goes together."

Happy eating!

Cheese Country Type Type Wines
Asiago Italy Hard CowRiesling, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco
Beaufort France Hard Cow Red Bordeaux
Blue Cheese All Blue Cow Madeira, Sherry, Riesling
Brie France Soft Cow Champagne, Merlot, Sherry
Camembert France Soft Cow Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, 
Cheddar All Semi-Hard Cow Chardonnay, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc
Chevre France Semi-Soft Goat Champage, Gewurztraminer
Colby USA Semi-Soft Cow Champagne, Malbec, Riesling
Comte France Semi-Hard Cow Cabernet Sauv, French Reds
Derby Britain Hard Cow Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc
Edam Netherlands Hard Cow Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Riesling
Emmenthal Switzerland Hard Cow Beaujolais
Feta Greece Semi-soft Sheep Beaujolais
Fontina Italy Semi-soft Cow Pinot Grigio
Goat Cheese France Soft Goat Sancerre, Vouvray, Sauvignon Blanc
Gouda Netherlands Semi-Hard Cow Champagne, Malbec, Riesling, Merlot
Gruyere Switzerland Hard Cow Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Halloumi Cyprus Semi-Hard Sheep Rose, New World Whites
Harvati Denmark Semi-soft Cow Red Bordeaux, Rioja
Jarlsberg Norway Hard Cow Chardonnay, Zinfandel
Kasseri Greece Semi-Soft Sheep Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel
Limburger Germany Soft Cow Beer
Manchego Spain Hard Sheep Merlot, Rioja, Garnacha
Monterey Jack USA Semi-Hard Cow Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Zinfandel
Muenster France Soft Cow Beaujolais
Neufchatel France Soft Cow Loire Valley Wines (i.e. Sancerre)
Parmagiano Italy Hard Cow Chardonnay, Chianti
Pecorino Italy Hard Sheep Chianti
Piave Italy Hard Cow Zinfandel, Italian Reds
Raclette Switzerland Semi-Hard Cow Beaujolais
Red Leicester Britain Semi-Hard Cow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Roquefort France Blue Sheep Port
Smoked Gouda Netherlands Semi-Hard Cow Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz
Stilton Britain Semi-Hard Cow Port, Sauternes
Swiss Switzerland Semi-Hard Cow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Taleggio Italy Semi-Soft Cow Pinot Blanc

Friday, January 31, 2014

Culinary Trend: Blood Oranges

Every so often, various ingredients and dishes go into vogue. Recently, foods such as kale and chia seeds made their way to the culinary forefront by way of blogs, magazines, and health fads.

Now, I'm noticing a previously obscure fruit that is gaining popularity in the foodie world– that is to say, the blood orange. Popping up in blogs and grocery stores alike, this underrated citrus is finally finding its way into America's kitchens.

Photo Credit

Blood orange gets its name (unsurprisingly) from its dark, blood-red fruit that distinguishes it from its cousin, the navel orange. In terms of taste, the two are relatively similar; though personally I find the blood orange to be a little more on the sour side (a subtle distinction from the navel orange's acidity) with a unique aftertaste. Of course, the taste is contingent on the orange's specific cultivar. When in season, many blood orange varieties boast a noticeable sweetness defining their taste.  

Now, I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to citrus fruits– I love to eat my oranges and grapefruits raw and unsweetened, or freshly pressed. However, these blood orange inspired recipes and foods are good enough to make me break my rule:

Talenti Blood Orange Sorbetto

Blood Orange Cake 

Recipe here.

Blood Orange Sangria

Recipe here.

Blood Orange & Clementine Galette

Recipe here

Goat Cheese Crostini with Blood Orange Marmalade

 Recipe here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Restaurant Review: Haru Aki Café

As a food nerd, it's tough going to college in farmville (literally) and not a city. UConn doesn't exactly boast a diverse culinary scene like NYC or Boston.

The lack of food culture at UConn especially makes itself known when I want to try new things. For example, I read about Bubble Tea in a blog and immediately wanted to try it. (Bubble tea can come in many forms, but it's usually found as a tea-based iced drink mixed with fruit syrup, milk, and tapioca pearl boba.) I searched on Yelp, and I saw a Chinese place just off the UConn campus offered bubble tea. But when I ordered my tea there, I watched in horror as they boiled some water, added some really artificial-looking powder to it, then shook it with ice. Even worse– it tasted more artificial than it looked. No thanks!

Luckily, less than a year later, the Haru Aki Café opened right next to my apartment building. "Haru" and "aki" mean spring and fall in Japanese, which speaks to the café's ethos concerning seasonal cuisine. But more importantly, they offer an amazing bubble tea menu.

Images from the Haru Aki Facebook page

Unlike other Asian-fusion restaurants in the area, the Haru Aki Café utilizes actual tea in their bubble tea (and not that synthetic powder). So far, I've tried the green tea with honeydew, peach, and lychee, and they've all been delicious. I could drink their bubble tea all day if my wallet allowed it.

In addition to the great bubble tea selection, they have delicious savory offerings as well– sushi, donburi (rice bowls), scallion pancakes, salads, and croquettes. 

Scallion Pancake

One day as I was buying a Honeydew bubble tea, I was lucky enough to run into Ron Liu, who is co-owner of the café. I asked him a bit about his background, and it turns out that he was a business student at UConn who had always dreamed of opening a restaurant. A few years after his graduation, he found himself in a financial position where he had the means to open Haru Aki.

Ron told me that while he is one of the main sushi chefs at the café, his girlfriend (who is also a co-owner and a fellow UConn alum) is the main force behind the menu. I told him how glad I was to have such a great restaurant nearby, and assured him that I would be back.

- - - 

This post really exemplifies why I love discovering new eateries and writing about them– because every small, locally owned restaurant has a unique story to tell. Food isn't just food... it's humanity. It's history. It's memories of your mom teaching you how to cook, or your grandmother sharing her secret recipe. And above all, it provides the medium through which people of different cultures can connect and learn from each other. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Club W

One of the hardest things about food blogging is figuring out what to write about next, especially where wine is concerned. It's fine to go to the liquor store and pick up a new bottle at random, but I like a more systematic way of picking out wines.

Enter Club W. I first saw them in an ad on Facebook (of all things) but decided to check out the website.

To start your Club W membership, the site asks you to take a Palate Profile quiz.

The quiz includes questions about your preferences for different types of flavors, like citrus fruits and earthy flavors (like truffles or mushrooms). Then, based on your answers to the questionnaire, the site gives you personalized recommendations from their curated selection of wines.

You can choose how many recommendations you receive (i.e. two reds and one white, etc.) in addition to browsing the other wines that weren't matched to your palate.

Club W's information about the wine is concise without being snobby. For each wine, they post a quick fact sheet that gives you the "vitals" of the wine, and a video where a sommelier describes the tasting notes.

I received my first Club W package in the mail a little while ago... more to come on my reaction to the wines!